Jun 20, 2017 11:21 AM EDT
Researchers in UK and India claim that a "significant" lack of "editing" in microRNAs in the brain tissue of a person is a potential cause of cancer. What were the findings and how to prevent the disease from spreading? Read on to find out.
The scientists describe their finding as "small but important". For one, it will help doctors understand brain cancer progression. Eventually, it will also increase the possibility of using genome engineering techniques to slow down or reverse the effects of the disease.
To better illustrate, Science Daily reported that microRNAs are special types of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that do not code for proteins but participate in crucial regulatory functions. RNAs can introduce beset variations in the organization of their building blocks known as ribonucleotides. This process, therefore, is called "editing".
In return, "editing" will enable RNA molecules to grow their functional selection, a process that maintains cell diversity and helps the human body to adapt dynamically.
Dr. Arjit Mukhopadhyay, a human genetics and genomics researcher in the School of Environment and Life Sciences, said in earlier interviews that these certain "variations" are decreased in patients with brain cancer which potentially drive the development of the disease. Mukhopadhyay and his team also examined the normal microRNA editing spectrum in 13 human tissue types.
Per Science Alert, they found out that healthy brains tend to have the highest amount of "editing". This alludes to the importance of the observed drop in cases of brain cancers. Mukhopadhyay admitted that while they do not know what is happening precisely, they believe that cellular output can be significantly altered.
The findings of this research pose one vital question for medical practitioners worldwide. That question is: Can science biochemically re-establish the "editing"? If proven to be true, there are ways to accomplish it using genome engineering techniques like CRISPR. It targets specific cells to revert the biological outcome.
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